Tim Fite
Tim Fite Recently signed Anti recording artist Tim Fite lives alone in a graveyard in Brooklyn, NY. In this graveyard, there are no headstones, no mausoleums, no flowers, no plot maps, no sprinklers, no astroturf; there aren't even any dead bodies (as far as I know). That is, unless you count the stacks and stacks of bargain bin c.d.'s that are strewed about the apartment, poking out of every nook and cranny of the otherwise orderly fourth floor walk up. Cd cases clatter around on the floor like the plastic skeletons of every band you've never heard of, a sobering display of thousands of discarded, disbanded, or quite simply dissed rock-and-roll dreams. It seems that Mr. Fite's home may in fact be the place where music goes to die. However, in the manner of little known physics professor Lawrence Q. Moyer (whose dissertation on the reinvigoration of dead tissue revolutionized modern science), Mr. Fite is in fact on a quest to reverse the effects of musical mortality. In his jewel case graveyard, Tim Fite is reanimating the corpses of the countless under-appreciated and overlooked songs that, due to misunderstanding and/or maltreatment, have sadly lost their will to go on.

The result of Mr. Fite's exploration of musical necromancy is an engaging collection of songs entitled "Gone Ain't Gone." Deeply steeped in the contradictory traditions of the country and hip-hop genres, "Gone Ain't Gone" bridges a vast cultural void, connecting a deep seeded respect for our troubled (yet sonically rich) past with a cavalier glimpse at a half harrowing-half hopeful (and again sonically rich) future. Although much of the music can be lumped into the established categories of alt-country and americana music, Tim Fite's debut album is neither of these things, exactly. Instead, it is the aural manifestation of simultaneity and contradiction: a hip-hop record that sounds like folk music, a loop-based record that feels organic, a socialist record that is essentially anti-social, a prophesy record about the good old days, a concept record with no concept, an easy record for hard times, a living record made from dead music.

Mr. Fite begins his resurrection process working much like a hip-hop producer, "sampling" large chunks from his bargain bin cadavers in order to create a basic foundation for his compositions. Most often, he does this by reorganizing the structure of one particular song, cobbling all the vocal free parts together until he has a "new" structure that suits his needs. Bear in mind, he does not limit himself to short clips of music. At times he will steal as much as 16 bars of a song with it's full orchestration fully intact (the only limitation Tim Fite sets for himself is that the records he works from must never cost more than a dollar). Once the foundation for a song has been laid, Mr. FIte then fills in the blanks with his own music, fleshing out the performances of his unwitting collaborators with added instrumentation, ranging in scope from acoustic guitar to hammer on folding-chair. After the music has been fully assembled and approved, it is time to infuse the music with the reinvigorating breath of life.

This life breath is found in the form of Tim Fite's vocals which stand out as the dominating element of "Gone Ain't Gone." Whether singing with a lag-beat twang, spitting like a super-mc, or screaming bloody hell from a burning voice box, Tim Fite seems to always know exactly the right thing to say and exactly the right time to say it, blending his multiplicity of vocal styles together seamlessly. It is truly a remarkable feat that he can switch between such contradictory worlds as old time harmony and straight up rapping without sounding the least bit contrived. The only explanation for this is that Mr. Fite himself is an amalgamate of voices, each one as genuine as it's predecessor, and only through the combination of these voices can he honestly and effectively communicate his ideas. It is this essential codependence of voices that makes the eclecticism of Tim Fite's music seem so unabashedly natural.

Some purists, upon hearing how Tim Fite makes his music, might say, "There is nothing natural about butchering dead songs into living songs. Let them rest in peace. Write your own music. Stop preying on the carrion of the bargain bin in order to cover up your own innate lack of talent." Their opinion might change, however, if they understood the reasoning behind this unorthodox way of writing songs. Tim Fite was one of a hand full of babies born between 1943 and 1986 without any blood. As a result, he has always been reliant upon a machine provide him with the blood that so many of us take for granted (the sound of this machine is a reoccurring theme on "Gone Ain't Gone). In turn, he equates his relationship to music with his relationship to blood, claiming that both are wasted too often these days, and that his conservation effort is one of healing rather than heresy. When listening closely to "Gone Ain't Gone," it becomes abundantly clear that this is true. Tim Fite is emulating his blood machine, and the outcome is a group of living, breathing songs that represent a wholly unique spirit. I only hope that my band fails badly enough that one day we end up in Tim Fite's graveyard, next in line for the blood machine.

- Jay Mokes of Gang-Plank